Preserving Tibetīs educational heritage
The rich educational heritage of Tibet continues traditions of Asian scholarship which originated in India over 2000 years ago. Tibetan institutions
of learning were founded by extraordinary teachers who were trained in India. Through thousands of years of careful work, Tibetan educational systems produced arts, sciences, and humanities that are unsurpassed by any
others produced in human history.
The Seventeenth Karmapa
Nitartha seeks to conserve the fruits of these storied Tibetan educational systems, not only for Tibetans, but for anyone in any country who may seek this
ancient, yet vital wisdom. Through the Tibetan Educational Support Project, Nitartha is focusing on conserving the Nyingma and Kagyu educational systems along with the texts of these two
traditions. These rich traditions contain within them the fruit of thousands of years of sustained philosophical and meditative disciplines, and have produced extraordinary developments in
the science of meditation and philosophy of mind.
History of the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions1
The Nyingma educational system, the oldest of the four major Tibetan traditions, traces its roots to the eighth century CE teacher Padmasambhava, who traveled from India to teach in
Tibet. The Kagyu, another of the four major Tibetan schools, was founded in the eleventh century CE by the Tibetan translator and educator Marpa. Marpa traveled three times over the Himalayas
to India, where he spent about two decades studying Indian schools of thought. The Kagyu school has been developed throughout the centuries primarily through the lineage of the
Karmapas, known as the Karma Kagyu lineage, which began with Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193) and is represented today by His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Ugyen Drodul Trinley Dorje.
The Nyingma and Kagyu teaching lineages are well-known for the richness of their scholarship in the fields of philosophy of
mind and science of meditation, and are unique in their pragmatic approach in applying these fields of knowledge to the varied aspects of daily life.
Nyingma and Kagyu educators, like Longchenpa and Mipham in
the Nyingma tradition and each of the successive Karmapas in the Kagyu tradition, wrote many extraordinary works. These literary works are not only integral to traditional Tibetan education conducted in the shedra
, but are also relevant to the issues before contemporary educators throughout the world. Nitartha's
Tibetan Educational Support Project offers a significant contribution to the preservation of these important, yet gravely endangered cultural achievements of Tibet.
1 In Wylie transliteration
: Nyingma (Tib. rnying-ma) and Kagyu (Tib. bka'-brgyud), and specifically, the Karma Kagyu (Tib. kar-ma-bka'-brgyud) traditions.